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After presenting at our recent Women With Ambition event, we sat down with Olympian, Eloise Wellings, to find out what makes her tick and how she manages to juggle life as an athlete, mother and Director of the Love Mercy Foundation.
Q. Hi Eloise, thanks for a moving and inspirational presentation. You spoke about some of the injuries you've had over the years. What would you say are the key factors/character traits in overcoming the adversities you've had to face in your career thus far?
A. I've managed to overcome a lot in my career. It's a daily decision for me to not give up on my dream. I first ran the qualifying time for the Sydney Olympics at age 16. It would be 12 years, 11 stress fractures and three failed attempts later that I finally lined up in London for my first Olympics. The main factors to keep me focused have been perseverance, patience and faith in a bigger plan for my life than injury.
Q. What advice would you give to anyone who was struggling with motivation or questioning their career direction?
A. After I missed out on the Beijing Olympics due to injury, my third Olympics, I was so discouraged I wanted to quit. I said to my husband, "I'm done, I just want to get a normal 9-5 job." It took everything I had to keep going. But I had to take some time out, go on holidays, have a change of scenery and refuel. I don't think I would've ever regretted continuing to chase after it even if the Olympic Dream never actually eventually came to pass. There was too much to be learned and gained by getting back up... Regardless of the outcome, the process and the journey is part of the real win. My advice is to learn from every moment and don't be afraid to wrestle with your dream, just don't let it beat you.
Q. How do you manage to juggle the responsibilities of being a mother, an Olympic athlete and Founding Director for the Love Mercy Foundation?
A. I have an amazing team of people around me. My husband has sacrificed so much to look after our daughter and help me to train full time. Love Mercy is run by a team of incredible people who look after our fundraising and operations in Australia and an amazing team of Ugandan locals who are so committed and capable. Without that support network, I wouldn't be able to do what I do!
Q. What’s been the most memorable life lesson you’ve learned to date?
A. Never give up. This is the motto of my dear friend Ugandan Olympian Julius Achon, and he says it all the time. It's simple really. Just never give up.
Q. What do you hope to achieve in your career and personal life in the next 10 years?
A. I'm looking forward to life after Rio where I can have a bit of downtime, relax with my family and treat myself! After that I will be heading to Europe for some more races, hopefully the Commonwealth Games in 2018, and possibly the marathon at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. My daughter, Indi, really wants a little brother or sister too. We hope to reach 20,000 women in our Cents for Seeds program by 2020 which is 4 years time... In the next ten years maybe we can reach 100,000?
The Love Mercy Foundation was featured in a recent ABC documentary, first aired on Sunday 7th August.
Everyone here at Ambition wishes Eloise the best of luck in all her events in Rio!
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